Photo: scorche, Flickr
Still casting about for vacation plans this summer? Well, here's something to consider: the Food Network has teamed up with Celebrity Cruises to offer what we desperately want to picture as a mash-up between The Love Boat and Iron Chef. The seven-night eastern Caribbean voyage sets sail from Ft. Lauderdale on August 22.
The Food Network calls the cruise a "unique opportunity," which we hope means that they'll be trying to dazzle high-seas gourmands with more than just the cascading mounds of all-you-can-eat shrimp and rambling breakfast buffets that have become de rigueur on most cruise ships. Details, however, remain oddly sketchy.
Here's what we do know: the Food Network's Cat Cora, former host of Melting Pot and the first (and only) woman to be anointed Iron Chef, and Aarón Sánchez, co-star of Chef vs. City, will be aboard. They will be leading "enriching culinary demonstrations," whatever that means. Equally tantalizing (or perplexing, take your pick) is the promised "dine around" event "featuring favorite Food Network recipes," which sounds suspiciously like a dressed-up buffet, or a game of musical chairs with food. (Break out the Dramamine!)
The $1,519-per-person price tag also includes access to the Food Network VIP lounge and screening room and ringside seats at some sort of cook-off/smackdown. But read the brochure carefully: The contestants apparently aren't Cora and Sánchez, but chefs from the ship's kitchen staff. (If you can muster any sort of competitive gusto after cooking for upwards of 2,800 passengers, you deserve a medal.)
Our verdict: it's a gamble. But the chance to watch Aarón Sánchez spice a pork tenderloin in person may well be worth it.